The Central Information Commission has directed the National Archives of India to give a “categorical” reply to a Right to Information query that has asked the Prime Minister’s Office if freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was dead or alive, PTI reported on Monday.
The RTI applicant, Avdhesh Kumar Chaturvedi, sought to know why Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Bose on his birth anniversary in 2015 and 2016. Chaturvedi said he approached the Central Information Commission, the highest appellate authority on RTI matters, because he did not receive any authentic information regarding Bose’s death.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the subject matter of the RTI petition pertained to the culture ministry and transferred it there. “Further, he [the PMO central public information officer] informed that all the files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were declassified and sent to the National Archives of India for permanent retention,” Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur said.
Mathur said the central public information officer of the National Archives of India should give a “categorical” reply to the petitioner within 15 days from the date of the order.
Bose founded the Indian National Army in 1942 to fight the British rule with the support of Japanese forces. He is believed to have died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945. In June 2017, the Narendra Modi government had said in reply to a Right to Information query that the matter of the freedom fighter’s death was not closed.
In January 2016, Modi released digital copies of 100 secret files related to the freedom fighter on his 119th birth anniversary. It was for the first time that these documents had been put in the public domain. In March that year, the Centre released the second batch of 50 declassified files.